This month is Plastic Free July, an initiative to encourage everyone to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic, and to make the general public more aware of the impact that plastic waste has on the environment. You can find out more from their website.
Whilst there are many who are well-trenched in living a zero-waste lifestyle, there are plenty of people who are yet to know where to begin.
Below are five tips for beginners who want to get into the swing of cutting out single-use plastics and bringing in a zero-waste mantra into their lives.
1. Zero-waste shops
An easy way to educate yourself and learn more about the zero-waste revolution is by visiting your nearest shop. We have listed nearby zero-waste shops in Cardiff and the surrounding areas, but if you live further away then Google is your friend. Visiting a zero-waste shop isn’t just beneficial to learning about what you can purchase, but it’s about what tips to employ across your life and in your home.
2. Be militant
What is really important is to be disciplined with your approach. If you start to cut corners or go back to old ways (which are undoubtedly easier), it completely erodes any progress you can make. By approaching the new lifestyle through a ‘marginal gains’ lens, every day can be a step towards operating a zero-waste lifestyle.
3. Challenge the norms
There are so many ways you can bring a zero-waste lifestyle into your home, and a lot of the time it is all about challenging the norms. If you always used to purchase fruit in packaging, then question why. The same goes for the endless plastic bottles of soap and washing products. You can make seismic changes but operating a refillable approach, and also by using bars of soap for both body and hand washing, as opposed to liquid-based.
4. Buy smart
Whilst disposing of food waste in compostable bags is a better approach than disposing of it via landfill, food waste can be vastly reduced when buying smartly. Look at freezing foods, planning meals, and being pragmatic when it comes to use-by dates. Look at your current food stocks when planning meals for the week ahead and be agile in utilising all products in your kitchen, especially perishable items.
5. Shout about it
Nobody likes a social media preacher, but there is some merit in being vocal about your new choices. However, it may be prudent to start by telling family and friends first, on the basis that your new choices are having a positive impact. This is important because it lets them know – subtly – that when it comes to gifts for any occasion, you’re really not looking for single-use plastic to make an appearance. Of course, if you still receive gifts that break your new golden rules, it’s important not to offend people but to thank them for their generosity and perhaps use it as an opportunity to educate in a very sensitive and managed way. Don’t make enemies, gain allies!